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Are there any reasons not to eat bones?

by (10994)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created May 25, 2013 at 11:02 PM

Bones are extremely alkaline.

Bones have a form of calcium that is shown to be superior to calcium salts in clinical trials for bone mineral density.

Bones are a solid source of calcium,phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

Bones naturally occur in the meat that we already eat and advocate.

Most Apex predators eat bones at least sometimes.

Umm, so yea, I feel like there should be an obvious reason why such a cheap plentiful food-source is barely discussed at all on a site that focuses on traditional "paleolithic" foods.

So why aren't people eating bones? At the very least to meet the RDA for calcium this seems like a great idea. So, what's the holdup, what's the obvious reason that nobody is doing this that everyone just inherently knows? Why is eating bones as a calcium source to balance out and meet mineral RDAs taboo/a bad idea??

It must be a bad idea because otherwise more people would be doing it, so what's going on here?

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60 · June 04, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Ha! I don't think my method would work for cow femur. My meat grinder seems to do just fine for smaller game (chicken, rabbit, etc) though.

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10994 · June 04, 2013 at 12:08 AM

How do you grind up your bones Gildedsteel? What kind of bones are you grinding. I got some cow femur bones and I don't think superman himself could grind those things they were so hard.

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10994 · June 04, 2013 at 12:08 AM

How do you grind up your bones Gildedsteel? What kind of bones are you grinding. I got some cow femur bones and I don't think superman could grind those they were so hard.

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10994 · June 04, 2013 at 12:07 AM

That's interesting, thanks for sharing that Matt.

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1195 · June 03, 2013 at 11:36 PM

Do you dehydrate them first and then just put them in a spice grinder?

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41452 · June 03, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Had an old school dairy farmer tell me once that the best supplemental calcium source was bone meal. Of course, that was pre-BSE days, even after that, he still recommended feeding bone meal, pig-sourced.

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50 · May 27, 2013 at 6:30 AM

great, pls let me know how you like it!

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3280 · May 27, 2013 at 2:31 AM

I just realized I have never eaten the feet from my broth. *shakes head sadly* How did I flake on that one? I eat bonesbut overlook feet! Thanks for the wake-up. :)

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3280 · May 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM

Right? I loved seeing that.

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10994 · May 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Dude, awesome! "Well-preserved prehistoric human coprolites (feces) recovered in large numbers from dry caves throughout western North America are full of pulverized bone fragments, including pieces of broken skulls, as well as fur and feathers, indicating that rodents, rabbits, birds, lizards, snakes, and amphibians were often cooked whole, pounded in a wooden mortar or on a milling stone, and then consumed in their entirety – bones, fur, feathers, and all, including the precious DHA in the brains."

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10994 · May 26, 2013 at 12:43 AM

Lol, I think everyone's a little weird at the end of the day. Thanks for your input crowbar :))

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10994 · May 26, 2013 at 12:11 AM

The form of calcium in bones is hydroxyapatite, it is less bioavailable according to loading tests but shows better results in clinical trials when supplemented side by side with calcium salts like calcium gluconate.

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10994 · May 26, 2013 at 12:06 AM

It requires a pressure cooker, and a little bit of free time. Indeed it has very little flavor but a very small amount supplies the rda.

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14877 · May 25, 2013 at 11:25 PM

that last line is sarcasm right?

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10994 · May 25, 2013 at 11:05 PM

Oh and please, before anyone mentions bone broths, please cite a reference for calcium content of broths before you say they are a good source of calcium, what I've read points to bone broths being a wholly insufficient source of calcium.

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10994 · May 25, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Oh and for anyone who even mentions bone broths, please cite a reference for calcium content of broths before you say they are a good source of calcium, what I've read points to bone broths being a wholly insufficient source of calcium.

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3280 · May 26, 2013 at 4:06 AM

A fascinating experiment was done in 1994 to learn how well humans digest bone:

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2012/10/shrew-eating-scientists-show-humans-can-digest-bone/

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10994 · May 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Dude, awesome! "Well-preserved prehistoric human coprolites (feces) recovered in large numbers from dry caves throughout western North America are full of pulverized bone fragments, including pieces of broken skulls, as well as fur and feathers, indicating that rodents, rabbits, birds, lizards, snakes, and amphibians were often cooked whole, pounded in a wooden mortar or on a milling stone, and then consumed in their entirety – bones, fur, feathers, and all, including the precious DHA in the brains."

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3280 · May 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM

Right? I loved seeing that.

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60 · June 03, 2013 at 10:46 PM

I grind up all the bones I use and sprinkle on top of almost everything I eat. I'm sure it's super good for you, but it also makes me wanna beat my chest and yell.

So there's that...

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60 · June 04, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Ha! I don't think my method would work for cow femur. My meat grinder seems to do just fine for smaller game (chicken, rabbit, etc) though.

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10994 · June 04, 2013 at 12:08 AM

How do you grind up your bones Gildedsteel? What kind of bones are you grinding. I got some cow femur bones and I don't think superman could grind those they were so hard.

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1195 · June 03, 2013 at 11:36 PM

Do you dehydrate them first and then just put them in a spice grinder?

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5
10994 · June 04, 2013 at 12:08 AM

How do you grind up your bones Gildedsteel? What kind of bones are you grinding. I got some cow femur bones and I don't think superman himself could grind those things they were so hard.

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7380 · May 26, 2013 at 12:29 AM

I eat bones all the time. I eat as much of chicken bones as I can, and will chew up any beef or pork bones I can. Bones, cartilage, connective tissue, I love them, and I did even as a kid.

My daughter is exactly the same. I don't use a pressure cooker, because I prefer to gnaw. I have always thought I was weird.

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10994 · May 26, 2013 at 12:43 AM

Lol, I think everyone's a little weird at the end of the day. Thanks for your input crowbar :))

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1536 · June 03, 2013 at 3:01 PM

I think that we do discuss eating bones - as broth, as marrow, as eggshells (sort of like bones). However, we're all still folks who grew up with the same cultural taboos, and we're all still on a journey.

Hm. Why not eat bones? Well, we do eat bones in stock and many don't realize it - so much good stuff is made with stock! Growing up, I was told to not gnaw on the bones because I'd break my teeth or cut up my throat, but that never happened. My family was weirded out when I'd ask them to save chicken bones from dinner to make stock...until they ate the food that was prepared with the stock and learned where the flavor was coming from. Now, they ask me if we should save bones or not, even when we have company eating over.

Of course, most of the meat we prepare, at least in America, is done rather quickly, so the bones are still hard. Then there are people who are squeamish about eating meat on the bone, which to me is silly, because I accept that I'm part of a predator species and that what I am eating has once lived and the tastiest parts of muscle meat are the bits stuck to the bone. I nearly hate chicken cutlets, because they're expensive and boring. However, I don't think this largely applies to us. Then, there's the pervasive idea that we're biologically incapable of eating bones.

So, I would say that there are four reasons:

  1. Stock and marrow are the ways that we generally get nutrients from bones. Cooking bones takes a lot of time, and not everyone has the time, or a crockpot, or the desire to boil bones.

  2. Predator guilt. If I eat the bones, I'm acknowledging that I'm a predator, and not a sparkly being of light or some other bullshit. This doesn't apply to the paleo or primal community (I should hope) but culturally, it's normal for people to dine blind of the reminders that meat comes from living things. This I think is especially true for women. Order a steak at a restaurant and tell the waiter you want it rare, on the bone, and without the fat trimmed, and suddenly you've lost your gender identity.

  3. Bad teeth. I think that as our teeth become weaker with SAD diets, gnawing on bones does in fact become a health risk for people. Even for those of us who don't have weak teeth, we've grown up with the idea that we don't have the tooth or jaw strength to scrape and crush bones, other than the soft ones in canned salmon.

  4. I remember learning as a kid that bones don't have any nutrition, and that calcium largely comes from milk, and in small traces, leafy greens. Humans, I was told, can't use the minerals in bones, so we eat dairy instead. While this is hands down wrong and makes absolutely no sense, we're all still in the process of realizing that much of what we've learned is wrong, and trying to figure out what is true in a world that doesn't want us to be right.

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50 · May 26, 2013 at 6:36 AM

I eat some of the chicken feet after 2 rounds of 12 hour broth preparation, they are not pretty to look at but absolutely delicious!

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3280 · May 27, 2013 at 2:31 AM

I just realized I have never eaten the feet from my broth. *shakes head sadly* How did I flake on that one? I eat bonesbut overlook feet! Thanks for the wake-up. :)

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50 · May 27, 2013 at 6:30 AM

great, pls let me know how you like it!

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1242 · May 25, 2013 at 11:32 PM

Might require an industrial grade grinder in the kitchen to make a fine powder. Or prolonged soaking, according to a few google searches.

Am guessing that it would have no flavor and the consistency of cornmeal.

Bone meal
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_meal

** Also curious as to bioavailably to humans (even after mechanical grinding).

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10994 · May 26, 2013 at 12:06 AM

It requires a pressure cooker, and a little bit of free time. Indeed it has very little flavor but a very small amount supplies the rda.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5
10994 · May 26, 2013 at 12:11 AM

The form of calcium in bones is hydroxyapatite, it is less bioavailable according to loading tests but shows better results in clinical trials when supplemented side by side with calcium salts like calcium gluconate.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5
10994 · June 04, 2013 at 12:07 AM

That's interesting, thanks for sharing that Matt.

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41452 · June 03, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Had an old school dairy farmer tell me once that the best supplemental calcium source was bone meal. Of course, that was pre-BSE days, even after that, he still recommended feeding bone meal, pig-sourced.

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41452 · April 15, 2014 at 10:53 PM

Evolutionarily, we don't have the jaws/teeth to do the job, at least for any animal bigger than bite size.

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0 · April 15, 2014 at 5:34 PM

I'm a perfectly healthy 32 year old male, and as much as I love meat, I'll be chewing and gnawing on bones, and actually have been most of my life. I eat the softer parts and as @MimsySeoul points out, the meat around bones are the best! So as far as empirical evidence is concerned I can tell you it's fine.

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